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Very timely comedy 4 Stars

Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter return as the signature duo in Bill & Ted Face the Music, a much-needed break from the tumultuous dread of 2020.

Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020)
Released: 28 Aug 2020
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 91 min
Director: Dean Parisot
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Music, Sci-Fi
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, Kristen Schaal, Samara Weaving
Writer(s): Chris Matheson, Ed Solomon, Ed Solomon (based on characters created by), Chris Matheson (based on characters created by)
Plot: Once told they'd save the universe during a time-traveling adventure, 2 would-be rockers from San Dimas, California find themselves as middle-aged dads still trying to crank out a hit song and fulfill their destiny.
IMDB rating: 6.1
MetaScore: 65

Disc Information
Studio: MGM
Distributed By: Warner Brothers
Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 2.39.1
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA, English Descriptive Audio, Spanish 5.1 DD
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Rating: PG-13
Run Time: 1 Hr. 32 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray, Digital Copy
Case Type: Blu-ray eco keepcase with slipcover
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Region: A
Release Date: 11/10/2020
MSRP: $35.99

The Production: 4/5

When we last saw Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reeves) in Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, they had defeated De Nomolos and won the Battle of the Bands contest, but had yet to write the song that Rufus had foretold them would unite the world. Nearly 30 years later, the duo have married the princesses (now played by Jayma Mays and Erinn Hayes), each have a daughter that is almost the spitting image of themselves – Thea (Samara Weaving) and Billie (Brigette Lundy-Paine), and live next door to one another in a typical suburban neighborhood in San Dimas, California. But in those years, the members of their band Wyld Stallions have departed, essentially making them one-hit wonders with a song that, unfortunately, did not unite the world. Rufus’ daughter, Kelly (Kristen Schaal), has been sent to summon Bill & Ted to the see the Great Leader of the future (Holland Taylor), who informs them that reality as they know it will cease to exist if they do not perform “the song” that will unite the world in their present within the next 77 minutes at MP46 in their present timeline. Since the two have been suffering from writer’s block, Ted comes up with a brilliant plan, to visit their future selves to obtain the song and travel back to present day to perform the song. Meanwhile, Thea and Billie sense something is wrong when Kelly shows up in her time travel pod outside their homes and decide to travel through time to recruit famous musicians to join Wyld Stallions and perform “the song” when their fathers return. The Great Leader, though, has little faith in Bill & Ted, and sees an alternative by sending an inept robot assassin named Dennis Caleb McCoy (Anthony Carrigan) to kill the duo. It’s a race against time (despite having a time machine) for the father and daughter team to discover “the song,” the location known as MP46, and perform the song before reality and time completely unravel, and persuade former ousted band member Death (William Sadler) to assist them. If you check your watch at the same time that Bill & Ted do in the movie, you will notice that this is all told in “real time.”

Bill & Ted Face the Music had a rocky road to getting produced, and then an even rockier road in getting released as most theaters around the world were still closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That is something of a shame, because Face the Music is one of those movies that I found not only to be a joy to watch, but was a much needed escape and message of unity during these current tumultuous times. Reeves and Winter step into their roles like a well-tailored glove, giving them age and (some) wisdom in their middle-aged incarnations (it probably helped that the two have remained close friends ever since the first film, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure). While some critics felt that the daughters’ subplot mirrored the events of Excellent Adventure, I found it rather fun, thanks to the performances of Samara Weaving and Brigette Lundy-Paine, often channeling their on-screen fathers. Of course, it is always great to see William Sadler return as Death, truly one of the best characters from Bogus Journey and Sadler’s funniest on-screen roles of his career. Director Dean Parisot and writers Chris Matheson & Ed Solomon (who also wrote the two previous entries) have retained much of the charm and humor of the first film.

Video: 4.5/5

3D Rating: NA

Bill & Ted Face the Music was captured at 2.8K and 3.4K resolutions on Arri Alexa Mini and XT Plus cameras and completed as a 4K digital intermediate in the 2.39:1 aspect ratio. While Warner and MGM have forgone a physical 4K UHD Blu-ray release (at least here in the US, although the movie is available in 4K digital without HDR), the physical Blu-ray release is quite excellent (sorry, I could not resist). The 1080p AVC-encoded transfer provided by MGM has strong fine detail, bringing out distinct facial features such as wrinkles and greying hair of Reeves and Winter, but also fabric textures and even blades of grass, something that cannot be said of the Vudu HDX digital copy included with this set, which also plagued the recent Warner/MGM digital version of Valley Girl. Colors appear naturally vibrant and not oversaturated. Contrast is very good, with decent black levels that appear about as close to black as possible without the benefit of HDR.

Audio: 4.5/5

Face the Music has been given an excellent (again, sorry) DTS-HD MA 5.1 track that makes the best of its more standard speaker layout. Surrounds are used rather aggressively to immerse the viewer in the surroundings of the characters but also the music featured in the film. LFE is used effectively to add some low-end to both the music and many of the sound effects in Hell. Dialogue is clear and understandable throughout.

Special Features: 2.5/5

Since the movie was in post-production as the pandemic began, most of the special features are relatively short.

The Official “Bill & Ted Face the Music” Panel at [email protected] (1080p; 43:14): Kevin Smith moderates the virtual panel, featuring Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, Samara Weaving, Brigette Lundy-Paine, William Sadler, writers Chris Matheson & Ed Solomon, and director Dean Parisot.

Be Excellent to Each Other (1080p; 1:22): A behind-the-scenes cast interview trailer for the film.

A Most Triumphant Duo (1080p; 1:17): Producer Scott Kroopf, Director Dean Parisot, and co-writer Ed Solomon discuss all-too-briefly the legacy of the two characters.

Social Piece (Excellence) (1080p; 0:49): The cast and crew very quickly discuss the optimistic nature of the film.

Death’s Crib (1080p; 1:13): Death (William Sadler) takes us on a tour of his house.

Digital Copy: An insert contains a code to redeem a digital copy in HDX on Vudu, which includes all of the extras noted above. As this is an MGM title distributed by Warner, it is not Movies Anywhere eligible.

Overall: 4/5

I really enjoyed Bill & Ted Face the Music, possibly more so due to the current social climate. The presentation was most excellent, but the special features were a bit of a letdown.

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Published by

Todd Erwin

editor,member

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Jeffrey D

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2018
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Jeffrey D Hanawalt
Thank you for the review, Todd. Will likely blind-buy, after I make time to watch the first 2 films again.